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Parks and Recreation

Ash Removal / Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer Emerald (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, is an exotic beetle that was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. The larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients. Unlike other trees, which remain relatively stable after they die, ash trees lose moisture internally very quickly and begin to fall apart soon after they die creating public nuisance or hazard situations. 

Bore holes made by Emerald Ash Borer.Since its discovery, EAB has:

  • Killed tens of millions of ash trees across the United States.
  • Caused regulatory agencies and the USDA to enforce quarantines and fines to prevent potentially infested ash trees, logs or hardwood firewood from moving out of areas where EAB occurs.
  • Cost municipalities, property owners, nursery operators, and forest products industries tens of millions of dollars.
  • Been positively identified in Cedar Rapids and is now considered widespread in the urban area.
The City is in the process of removing all parkway ash trees. Homeowners have the following options available to them:

  • Removal -No property owner action is required. Ash trees will be removed proactively or reactively as determined by the City at the City's expense. The stump will be ground and the area backfilled and seeded. The tree will be replaced.
  • Select a company of your choice to treat City tree/s at your expense - Inform the City of treatment by emailing forestry@cedar-rapids.org. Include the property owner's first and last name, phone number, email address, property address, number of City ash trees being treated and the name of the company providing treatment.

Treatment must be continued for the life of the tree and may not guarantee a tree's survival.

Trees with storm damage or other safety concerns need to be removed, regardless of treatment.

EAB Update Presentation Materials
City of Cedar Rapids
Iowa Department of Agriculture
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
ISU Extension
Trees Forever
Finding a certified pesticide applicator for EAB


Emerald Ash Borer Treatment Options for Homeowners

Homeowners have the option of treating their parkway ash tree unless it has health or structural concerns. Please contact the City Arborist to make this request at 319-286-5747. Homeowners can also treat their ash trees on private property. 

Chemical Treatment

  • Chemical treatment of an ash tree.The chemical solutions Emamectin Benzoate (sold under the trade name Tree-Age) and Merit (Imidacloprid) are commonly used to treat ash trees. There are several things to keep in mind when treating ash trees with these products, and the City recommends residents review the options carefully before making a decision:

  • If you treat a parkway tree, you need to contact the Forestry Department so the tree can be evaluated, approved and put on a list so it is not removed prematurely.

  • An ISA Certified Arborist should evaluate private trees to see if they are in good condition. Once you start treatment on a tree, you will need to continue it for the life of the tree. If you stop, the insect can infest the tree and kill it.

  • These products are not preventative and do not guarantee the survival of the tree. To be effective, the insect’s larva needs to ingest the chemical by chewing through the bark. Current success rates are 90-95%. A tree could still become infected after treatment and die. In addition, some treatments require injections, which create small wounds and stress to the tree.

  • Product awareness: Merit, when applied as a ground treatment instead of a trunk injection, can contaminate groundwater if the per-acre limitations are surpassed. Merit is used to control a variety of insects, not just Emerald Ash Borer, and exceeding the per acre limitations can happen unknowingly.

  • Groundwater contamination can cause health issues for fish, wildlife, and people. Homeowners are encouraged to follow the label and talk with their neighbors about their ash treatment. Professional applicators should also survey the area. Trunk injections are preferred, which goes directly into the tree and decreases the risk of leaching and groundwater contamination.

  • Treatment is only part of an overall management program. Trees should be properly pruned on a regular basis (every 5 years), watered regularly and fertilized yearly. This will keep them in the healthiest state possible to fight off infestation.

Additional Information & Articles: 

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